In the evolutionary graph of the role of the Public Relations practitioner - I suppose that the 'early' stages of evolution would depict something of a frazzled, crowd pushing, clip board toting patsy with a goal to push their clients face in front of every highly visible news medium out there. Let's call them Publicis-Pithecus.
There was one goal - to showcase client X as THE flavour of the hour (self-promotion) - and then to throw a bunch of results, articles and impressions into a fancy chart so 'said client' could feel important.
Fast forward a millennium or so... (ok, 20 years) and there has been quite a change, not only in our social and marketing landscapes but more importantly, in the path of communication between client and consumer.
Today, the role of the Modern PR Practitioner is at all times, to keep the client at the top of the news cycle, but the role comes with another word attached: relevance. Another meaning for 'closely connected.' Connection is a two way street - not a one way morse code.
Today's smart business leaders are focused on building brands their customers can connect with, stand beside and feel a part of. They want to build companies that leave a legacy - and if they sell, they aren't selling bits and pieces, they're selling an idea.
The ability to retain loyal customers, to have the legacy continue is the greatest testament to a company that is able to keep a two way dialogue with their target audiences.
Points to ponder:
- It is self-preservation, not self-promotion, that will give companies the greatest chance of survival.
- A CEO with purpose, values and dedication will likely always outwit, outsmart and outlast his less focused, more hedonistic counterpart.
- Evolved PR includes two way dialogue, not one way messages.